As kids and teens spend more time online, they’re more likely to be affected by social media trends.
That makes viral challenges, like the Tide Pod Challenge and Bird Box Challenge, spread quickly across the country — and they’re not always safe.
Last year, YouTube started removing videos of children eating Tide Pods after some were getting chemical burns as part of the trend, Dearly reported.
And Netflix had to warn its viewers not to blindfold themselves as part of the challenge inspired by its original film, “Bird Box,” after people started to suffer injuries.
Now, there’s a new challenge that police say could result in legal consequences.
Authorities are now monitoring the 48-Hour Challenge, in which teens dare their friends to pretend to disappear for two days in order to gain attention on social media or local news.
They gain points for how many likes and shares news of their disappearance gets on social media, Overland Park Police Officer John Lacy told Fox4KC:
“First you had the Tide Pod Challenge and then you had The Birdbox Challenge and now this challenge.”
Teens who participate could face criminal charges for pretending to go missing. Lacy said it could take away police’s time and energy:
“We are going to take that call very seriously. You are wasting our time, and you are wasting our resources.”
In January, a South Carolina 13-year-old who had been reported missing was later found hiding under her bed, hidden by shoes, according to WATE.
Searchers suspected that she was taking part in the challenge, but her mother later denied the claim.
Lacy said that parents need to keep an eye on their children’s social media and that the 48-Hour Challenge needs to stop:
“Look at their phone and see who they are texting, what is on their phone, what apps they have downloaded. I am telling you, as a parent, I would do the same thing… Stop. It is not a joke. These challenges, they have to stop.”
It’s unclear where exactly the viral challenge started.